Posted on: February 19, 2012 3:44 pm
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brian Wilson, the 24/7 personality who helped the Giants win the World Series and became a cult hero in the process, said Sunday that he hopes to be game-ready by the second week of Cactus League games.
The proclamation was notable for a couple of reasons. One, Wilson appeared in only six games after last Aug. 1 while battling a strained elbow. And two, he clammed up about the time his elbow went south, and he hadn't spoken publically in about seven months.
"I wasn't frustrated," Wilson said in a brief interview before San Francisco's first workout for pitchers and catchers. "It was nothing I could have controlled. I was never frustrated."
Wilson said he hopes to pitch in the second week of spring games, which would be the week of March 11. After leading the NL with 48 saves during the Giants' dream season of 2010, Wilson managed 36 last summer before succumbing to the elbow, just one more thing gone wrong in a season of bad news for the Giants.
Still, Wilson tried to pitch through the pain. After making four appearances between Aug. 5 and 15, he was shut down for a month, his next appearance coming on Sept. 18. But it was evident then that things weren't right, and he wound up pitching just one more game, Sept. 21, before being shelved.
"It's what I do," Wilson said of trying to push through the injury. "I don't ask for days off. I don't complain. I don't ask for a time out until I can take a breather."
Wilson said he feels good now and is hoping that he's given the elbow enough time to heal.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 10:05 pm
The reeling Giants took another loss Tuesday, this one 3-1 to the Padres to fall to 1-4, and right now Wilson's absence seems the least of their problems: They've had exactly zero save opportunities in their first five games.
So if a closer is activated in the forest and nobody notices, is he really active? Or something like that.
"After throwing to hitters in LA and playing catch today, he feels great," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Tuesday's game.
Wilson has made no secret of his eagerness to return, but the Giants are confident that he's ready.
"Just watching him throw to hitters in LA, he wasn't hesitating," Bochy said. "He was letting it go.
"If your oblique is bothering you, you can't hide that."
You can't hide some of the Giants' fielders, either. They've committed five errors in their first five games (none on Tuesday in San Diego, though pitcher Madison Bumgarner didn't distinguish himself on Chris Denorfia's bunt in a three-run third).
Bochy already is going into overdrive protecting Aubrey Huff -- rightly so -- for his uneven play in right field. Huff was supposed to be the San Francisco first baseman this year, but when Cody Ross suffered a strained calf, Huff went out to right to replace him and rookie Brandon Belt was installed at first.
"Huff played pretty good outfield last year," Bochy said. "In fairness to him, he didn't get a lot of time out there because Ross was there. Give him time."
That's fair. But it doesn't help matters short-term (Ross is expected to miss at least the first three weeks of the season).
"Andres Torres is going to weight 138 pounds by the end of the season with all that ground he has to cover," one scout quipped Tuesday of the Giants center fielder. "He's got from foul line to foul line."
Likes: If you're a fan of San Diego sports, check out Jane Mitchell's book One on One: My Journey With Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars. All sorts of people -- and stuff -- in there from the popular Mitchell, who has been doing magazine-style, in-depth pieces on San Diego television for years. ... The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Netflix'd it the other night and what a gem. Julianne Moore is terrific, and Woody Harrelson, as usual, is pitch-perfect.
Dislikes: The Padres changing uniforms again. Now their road unis are gray, not the "sand" color of the past few years. ... Butler-Connecticut, what a letdown. Ugh. ... Made of Honor. Brutal. Patrick Dempsey may be fine for Grey's Anatomy, but keep him on the small screen.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Now Paul is a real estate novelist
-- Billy Joel, Piano Man
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 6:03 pm
It's too early to say whether than means Wilson will open the season on the disabled list, and Wilson insists that his arm strength is such that he'll be ready on opening day. But with San Francisco's opener next Thursday at Los Angeles, time is slipping away.
Wilson, an All Star closer who led the NL with 48 saves last season, said he is "taking it day by day" and "taking it easy."
"What this is like is what it was with my back [early in camp]," Wilson said. "Same thing. If I'm not worried, no one needs to be worried. The team's not worried and the doctors are not worried."
Posted on: November 1, 2010 2:24 am
Edited on: November 1, 2010 2:27 am
Teams that have taken a 3-1 series lead are 38-6 in World Series play.
And of those six teams that came back to win ... well, nobody's done it since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
"We're one game away," Giants outfielder and postseason hero Cody Ross said. "We can all feel it. We can smell it, taste it, everything ... all the senses.
"We just have to keep grinding."
That, or keep pitching. With Tim Lincecum lined up to start Game 5, the Giants already have shut the Rangers out in two of these four games so far. Texas thus becomes the first team since the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers to get shut out in at least two games during one single World Series.
A strong Orioles staff featuring Dave McNally, Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker pitched three shutouts against the Dodgers that fall.
A Rangers' lineup that led the American League in batting average and ranked fourth in both runs scored and on-base percentage has been completely overwhelmed.
"It's certainly pitching as advertised," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Co. "Those guys pound the strike zone. They've got good stuff. They've got velocity. They can spin the baseball, they can change speeds and they keep their defense engaged. And that's what you like to see out of pitching, keeping the defense engaged.
"They've done a great job. We've got to figure out some ways to put some runs on the board against them."
With Cliff Lee slated to start Game 5 on Monday, C.J. Wilson Game 6 on Wednesday and Colby Lewis Game 7 on Thursday, the Rangers have the starters they want going. But if they can't score, it's not going to do much good.
Likes: San Francisco closer Brian Wilson's "Aqua Man" T-shirt he was wearing Sunday. ... Hank Aaron in the house to present the Hank Aaron award to Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Toronto's Jose Bautista. Great to see Aaron still connected. ... Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbecue in Fort Worth. Biggest pork chops I've ever seen (thus the "Home of the Big Chop" monikor). And outstanding beef brisket. ... Lyle Lovett. ... Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central opening the Michigan state football playoffs with a 62-14 cruise over Dundee on Friday night.
Dislikes: Missing Halloween. ... The three minutes between innings of postseason games. Yes, baseball needs to make its money, but, yaawwwwn, man does that make these games stretch out.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
-- Jimmy Buffett, Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost
Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:07 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants fans have plenty of gear to choose from at the concession stands, from Pablo Sandoval "Kung Fu Panda" hats to Tim Lincecum wigs, but one T-shirt you see around town is only sold on the streets.
It reads "Let Tim Smoke", which neatly ties together Lincecum's arrest on a misdemeanor marijuana charge last winter along with the ballot initiative in California next Tuesday to legalize pot.
Lincecum, preparing to start Game 1 of the World Series, was asked in a news conference Tuesday about "those funny T-shirts that you see people walking around the streets with" and his folk hero status.
"It's a really good atmosphere," Lincecum said, "As far as the shirts go ... [it's an] it is what it is kind of thing. I'm having fun with it. You see all the Pablo hats or the Panda hats and the Brian Wilson 'Fear the Beard' shirts and things.
"It's just something for them to play on and have fun with, and it's good. I think it gets them involved, and I feel like they're part of the team."
Posted on: October 24, 2010 2:40 am
Truth is, Sanchez had no more idea of where his fastball was going than he did of what a gallon of gas will cost next Thursday. But there is no question that the San Francisco Giants were a different team following the benches-clearing incident in their 3-2 Game 6 NL Championship Series clincher here on Saturday night.
After Sanchez hit Utley, the second baseman reflexively picked up the baseball and tossed it in Sanchez's direction en route to first base. The lefty did not appreciate the gesture, and Sanchez hollered as much at Utley. Which is when the benches cleared. (The umpires, by the way, did an excellent job of keeping things under control without issuing any ejections).
As the champagne sprayed in the Giants' clubhouse after, Sanchez refused to say what he hollered at Utley.
"I'm not going to say nothing about that," Sanchez said.
As for Utley tossing the baseball toward him, Sanchez had plenty to say about that.
"You can't do that," Sanchez said. "Take your base. He tossed the ball back to me. If you're a professional, you don't do that."
It was the third time Utley was hit by a Sanchez pitch in 20 plate appearances during his career. The two have had one previous set-to. During a game in July, 2009, Sanchez threw a fastball near Utley's head, after which the second baseman took a step toward the mound and glared at the pitcher. Later in the same at-bat, Utley called for time late, stepping out of the batter's box just before Sanchez delivered a pitch. On the next pitch, Utley smashed a homer.
Still, Sanchez said, none of that has anything to do with what happened Saturday night.
"I was trying to throw strikes with my fastball and I couldn't get anything over the plate," he sdaid.
While pitching coach Dave Righetti said Sanchez had some of his best stuff of the year during pre-game warm-ups, it disappeared by the time the first inning started. Sanchez was removed two batters into the third, after a walk and then hitting Utley in the upper back with a pitch.
His line: Two innings plus, three hits and two earned runs. He had as many wild pitches and hit batters each as strikeouts (one). He walked two.
"I didn't have it," he said. "I didn't have my best stuff."
It's not as if he didn't contribute, though. Closer Brian Wilson agreed with third-base coach Tim Flannery's assessment that the benches-clearing incident sparked the Giants.
"I'll tell you what," Wilson said. "It certainly lit a fire. I'm glad it happened. You realize what was at stake.
"At that point we were losing [actually tied 2-2] and you're looking for any reason to wake up."
Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:01 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- You've got Tim Lincecum, with his two NL Cy Young Awards, sizzling fastball (even with this year's reduced velocity), killer slider and mind-bending curve ball.
You've got lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who has a sneaky fastball, wicked slider and solid curveball.
And you've got Matt Cain, who spots his fastball that creeps up to 94.
All along, the Giants were the one team in the NL that could hang with the Phillies' killer front-three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels if things broke right. And so far, especially after San Francisco's 3-0 Game 3 win, things are breaking right for them.
So, rookie catcher Buster Posey, which of those three is the easiest to catch?
"I'd have to say probably Cain," Posey says. "Johnny and Timmy's stuff is just so electric. Tim's fastball moves a ton. Jonathan's tremendously deceptive.
"Matt's command, he's pinpoint a lot of the time."
With the Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 -- despite some calls for Roy Halladay on short rest -- their hitters will get a crack at Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner, who went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season.
Bumgarner is riding a pretty good wave of momentum: The Giants' shutout in Game 3 -- Cain, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson combined -- following Tim Lincecum's Game 1 shutout of Atlanta last round gives the Giants two shutouts at home in the same postseason for the first time since they blanked the White Sox in Games 3 and 4 of the 1917 World Series.
The Big Three," Wilson said. "Or you can call them the Fab Four, I don't know. Madison shouldn't be counted out.
"You never know. At 21, he might be our secret weapon."
Likes: Tuesday afternoon by the Bay was so gorgeous it makes you wonder why every October playoff game isn't in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, the television money. My bad. ... San Francisco really has become a great baseball city. Loud, loud crowds. ... Robinson Cano's home run in Yankee Stadium against Texas should have been reviewed via replay, but it was not comparable to the Derek Jeter/Jeffrey Maier disputed homer in 1996. Maier reached over the fence into the field of play. These fans Tuesday night did not. ... Mike Quade as the new Cubs manager. He did a fantastic job after Lou Piniella left. Here's a column I did on him in late September. ... Gorgeous shot of Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay on jumbo board in center field before seventh inning started Tuesday. ... The gnocchi at Umbria Italian Ristorante in San Francisco. Great find, that place. ... Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie singing the national anthem. Great voice.
Dislikes: Obese mice.
"To everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
-- The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn
Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:23 am
One small step for the Atlanta Braves, one giant leap for major league baseball.
Oh, and a belated Merry Christmas to the Braves as well.
Yessir. When the Braves agreed to terms with Troy Glaus last Christmas Eve, they did not exactly envision him playing third base with the season on the line in the 10th inning of the NL divisional playoffs.
Fact is, they did not envision Glaus playing third. Period, end of sentence.
So what was he doing, all brittle and lumbering, starting the Braves' most crucial 5-4-3 double play in years as they seized another game with their last licks and evened their series with the Giants at one game apiece with a 5-4, 11-inning, Rick Ankiel Special on Friday night?
Short answer is, quite simply, it's the beauty of the game. Sometimes the best-laid plans are forcibly scrapped at the most inopportune times, and the game reverts back to the schoolyard. You play here, you play there, and we'll see what happens.
Long answer? Desperate for offense and with a hole to plug at first base, Braves general manager Frank Wren gambled that Glaus could learn a new position and add the bat Atlanta needed. It was a sizable gamble, too, in that the shoulder surgery Glaus underwent in January, 2009, allowed him to play in only 14 games for St. Louis that summer.
It worked fine for a time, especially in May, when Glaus collected 28 RBI in 27 games. But his production diminished as the summer wore on and then, on Aug. 12, came a season-changer: Chipper Jones was lost for the rest of the year to a knee injury.
So what happens? Wren acquires first baseman Derrek Lee from the Cubs ... and Glaus is such a team guy, such a Bobby Cox devotee, that he's all for bringing Lee aboard and volunteers to play third base while he's at it.
Not that the Braves took him up on it. Are you kidding? He's 33, he's 6-6 and 250 pounds, and Glaus had reached the part of his career where, if he did play third, the odds were far greater that he would hurt himself (and the team) than much good would happen.
Until Friday night became just late and crazy enough that the Braves were left without many options. And Glaus entered the game as an, ahem, defensive replacement in the 10th.
It figured that the first batter in the 10th, Edgar Renteria, immediately dropped a bunt in Glaus' direction. Do you know how many total chances Glaus has had at third in the past two seasons? Nine, that's how many. And just one this year, in the one appearance (two total innings) he had made there.
Renteria reached base, of course. And so did two other Giants.
And there in the bottom of the 10th, with one out and the largest crowd ever to gather at AT&T Park roaring, what should Buster Posey do but roll a 'tweener grounder -- it wasn't hit hard, but it wasn't a soft grounder, either -- in Glaus' direction.
And the big guy came up with it, wheeled and threw to second to start the 5-4-3, and the relay to first barely beat Posey. Said later throwing home for the force out was never an option.
One false move in the play, and Renteria scores and the Giants win.
Instead, Glaus was perfect, in both the plan and the execution.
And next inning, Ankiel blasts a fastball into the water. And somehow, Kyle Farnsworth keeps the Giants off the board in the bottom of the 11th.
Not only did it complete a rousing comeback for a down-and-out team that had seen Cox ejected nine innings earlier, it also breathed life back into a postseason in dire need of mouth-to-mouth.
Six outs from a fourth series going 2-0 when bearded Giants closer Brian Wilson was summoned by manager Bruce Bochy, baseball was edging close to four sweeps, a first round ending by Sunday evening, the next round not slated to begin until next Friday.
So what were we all supposed to do if the game went dark Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?
Convene a national convention to bitch about the umpires?
But enough about a downer of a first round, something that has become an all-too-familiar event and might warrant baseball reviewing the playoff format.
Right now, all the Braves care about is that, somehow, they live.
And bleak as it may look with Jones and Martin Prado (oblique) done for the year -- and, quite possibly, closer Billy Wagner (oblique) to follow after he hurt himself in the 10th inning Friday -- Tim Hudson getting the ball for Game 3 in Atlanta on Sunday looks pretty darned good.
After they scored zero runs in their first 14 innings against the Giants, the Braves finished Friday with five in the last six innings.
They get a couple more Sunday, Hudson steps up and the Turner Field magic kicks in (the Braves' 56 home victories led the majors), who knows? The Giants -- and baseball -- might have a fight on their hands yet.